I’m going to take the Jimmy Kimmel stance on this one.
I love being silly and making light of things. I like creating laughter from true stories, often representative of real pain. I’ve learned the best way to cope and move forward is to find the humor, to laugh at the big scary things so they seem less scary. And sometimes that’s easy. Other times, it requires many jokes.
And then there are those few unfortunate things that don’t feel attackable with laughter.
So while laughter is important and I, like Jimmy, would much rather do that, there’s a point to addressing things seriously, too.
This week on social media, #MeToo ripped through my Facebook feed. It started from a celebrity tweet in light of the Weinstein allegations, resulting in multiple women finally feeling comfortable enough to come forward. It’s appalling that somehow there’s still this idea that these women are in cahoots with each other. In what world do you find a group of people all claiming the same heinous thing was done to them and still question it?
This kind of movement is often, annoyingly, met with, “Well, why didn’t they come forward sooner?”
“Why didn’t they come forward?” SHE ASKED INCREDULOUSLY. ALSO IN OUTRAGE.
Have you opened up your soul to someone, have you told them something real, heartbreaking, impossibly frightening, only to be met with disbelief? To feel like the recipient of painful, gut-wrenching, soul-squirming news is questioning YOUR integrity? YOU? The one who was mistreated and disrespected?
Yeah, okay. Get out of here with that fuckboy shit.
I can’t speak for other victims; I haven’t felt their feelings or lived their pain.
But I’ve lived mine.
The sadness splattered in status format on my screen wasn’t over the sheer volume of stories, but for what’s behind each confession. They varied in detail; some simply tagged #MeToo, others left vague summaries, and some posted stories rich in as much detail as could be tolerated. Behind every story is MORE. It’s not just what we see, or what we are able to share. It’s years of pain, suffering, questioning, wondering.
I wrote a lengthy post, and yet still, as I reflected back over my statements, more and more details rushed my memory.
“Oh,” I thought, “It still isn’t that bad… but look at all these things I’d forgotten.”
Let’s pause for a second. Look at that. Look at me, dismissing what happened to me, minimizing it, making it less. Why?
A close friend asked who the older businessman was that I detailed in my post, and why he didn’t know about this when it was going on. This was my response:
I didn’t want to talk about it when it happened because it made me feel really gross. I kept wondering if I had done something that put me in that situation. I didn’t want to make a big deal about it. But I should have. I was afraid, like most females, that I would be slut-shamed or discredited or bullied into silence, and I didn’t feel strong enough to take that on, so I chalked it up to some creep and tried to move forward. I didn’t tell my parents what happened until this summer. They kept asking, but I kept providing BS brush-offs because I felt gross and weird and icky about it. And it makes me angry because that’s fucked up. Someone in a position of power was inappropriate toward me, and I felt gross. I wasn’t the one being gross, but still I felt ashamed. There are so many women who have been through so many horrors, and men, too – my gay friends have been through some shit that’s not okay, either – that are all still too afraid, and that has to stop.
But You’re Such a Strong Person
I heard an interviewer say to Jane Fonda in an interview about the Weinstein scandal, “Why didn’t you say anything? You’re so bold.”
Fonda stammers that she wasn’t that bold, and it reminded me: When I retell what’s happened to me, it sounds strong and bold, but I did not feel that way.
I felt small, uncomfortable, and sick. And yet somehow I felt the need to be graceful, polite. ME. The person this was being done to felt the need to make it feel less gross.
A good friend once said, “Stop apologizing for what he did to you. It’s not your job to fix what he broke; it’s not your job to make it better.”
It’s not our job to fix what was done to us. But it is our divine right to speak out about what happened, and we need to feel empowered to do so.
At the end of my post, I shared that I don’t know what to do to minimize the #MeToos we saw in our timelines, other than to come together, support each other, and LISTEN when someone is trying to tell us something. Stand by their side, pick up the torch when they cannot, and fight the fight.
So, this is my version of carrying the torch and taking on the fight.
#MeFuckingToo because #INeverFuckingAskedForIt